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Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo manual 2017 review

2017 Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo (image credit: Stephen Corby)
EXPERT RATING
8
There is a sprinkling of Goldilocks about the Hyundai Elantra, and in a different time, when people loved sedans more than hatches, it might have been perfectly placed to be a big seller.

There is a sprinkling of Goldilocks about the Hyundai Elantra, and in a different time, when people loved sedans more than hatches, it might have been perfectly placed to be a big seller.

It's not too large - like a Commodore or a Falcon now clearly is - nor is it too small (sure, an i30 is a great car, but putting your family in one involves obvious and constant compromise).

Explore the 2016-2017 Hyundai Elantra range

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Hyundai Elantra SR Turbo 2016 review | first drive video

With its turbocharged, 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine, it's not going to rip your arms off, but nor is it lacking in fizz and fun. And at $28,990, for the SR Turbo manual we're driving here, it's not too expensive, either.

Fortunately, it somehow manages not to look like you've bought something cheap.

Is it, then, the Just Right of cars? We spent a couple of weeks with our Snow White version attempting to find out.

Hyundai Elantra 2017: SR Turbo
Safety rating
Engine Type1.6L turbo
Fuel TypeRegular Unleaded Petrol
Fuel Efficiency7.7L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$16,300

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

This sporty little Elantra comes so close to being truly attractive that it hurts. A bit like being Mimi McPherson, or Doug Pitt (yes, Brad's brother, who still can't get over the fact he doesn't get to have Christmas with Angelina any more).

From side on it is almost sleek, spoiled only ever so slightly by what looks like a melted C-pillar. From the rear, and three-quarter it truly is sharp and almost Audi-like, and from front-on it looks like an i30 with a wider jaw, which is neither unpleasant, nor exciting.

  • From the rear, and three-quarter it truly is sharp and almost Audi-like. (Image credit: Stephen Corby) From the rear, and three-quarter it truly is sharp and almost Audi-like. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)
  • 17-inch alloys come as standard.  (Image credit: Stephen Corby) 17-inch alloys come as standard. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)
  • This sporty little Elantra comes so close to being truly attractive that it hurts.  (Image credit: Stephen Corby) This sporty little Elantra comes so close to being truly attractive that it hurts. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)

Overall, it's not a bad looking car, and the more time you spend with it the more it grows on you.

The interior of our test vehicle was filled with excitement, or at least bright red "leather-appointed" seats, which caused my children to exclaim loudly with words like "cool".

What does let the Hyundai down is the quality and feel of the plastics, the door handles and basically everything you touch. It doesn't feel awful, but it just doesn't have that quality you get from other brands and, while the company's work in this area has gotten better in recent years, it all still feels just a bit thin.

  • The interior of our test vehicle was filled with excitement.  (Image credit: Stephen Corby) The interior of our test vehicle was filled with excitement. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)
  • Shoulder room and rear leg room really do stand out in the Elantra.  (Image credit: Stephen Corby) Shoulder room and rear leg room really do stand out in the Elantra. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)

How practical is the space inside?   7/10

The inherent advantage of a sedan, even a smallish one, over a hatch is the sense of interior space, and the roof line, shoulder room and rear leg room really do stand out in the Elantra.

The 458 litres of boot space is the other obvious big win here.

The 458 litres of boot space is a big win here. (Image credit: Stephen Corby) The 458 litres of boot space is a big win here. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)

Rear passengers get ISOFIX child seat mounts in the outward positions, a bottle holder in each door, while the front doors feature the same, plus two more cupholders between the front seats and in the fold-down rear armrest. Oddment/phone storage is plentiful and practical just under the dash, where you'll also find the USB port positioned.

Generally speaking, the Elantra offers a very practical, pleasant cabin, but in the SR Turbo it also manages to feel a bit special.

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   9/10

At this price point you'd be expecting to have a lot of options to tick, easily taking you up beyond $30,000, but the amount of fruit you get included is actually very impressive. It includes: all the safety equipment you could want, active and passive, a reversing camera, front and rear parking assist, dusk-sensing headlamps, Proximity Sensing Smart Key with push-button start, an old-school handbrake, which I love, a 7-inch colour touch screen with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, heated and power adjustable front seats, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, Smart Bootlid with hands-free opening, sports body kit and rear muffler with twin exhaust tips, leather-ish sports bucket seats and 17-inch alloys.

It is, in short, excellent value for money.

The Elantra SR Turbo comes with a space saver spare. (Image credit: Stephen Corby) The Elantra SR Turbo comes with a space saver spare. (Image credit: Stephen Corby)

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

While the base Elantra makes do with a bigger, less powerful 2.0-litre engine providing 112kW and 192Nm, the more tech-savvy turbo 1.6 in the SR manages 150kW and a far more impressive 265Nm, which is yours for the enjoying from 1500 to 4500rpm.

The six-speed manual is a great companion for getting the most out of this engine, with quick and easy shifts that make you feel involved in the experience.

You can expect a 0 to 100km/h time just slightly north of a brisk seven seconds, or a couple of tenths under if you go for the DCT auto. It's no sports car, but it's no slug either.

It's no sports car, but it's no slug either. It's no sports car, but it's no slug either.

How much fuel does it consume?   8/10

There is a small penalty to pay for the enjoyment of driving the manual, because its fuel-economy figure of 6.1 litres per 100km is just slightly higher than the self-shifter, which offers 5.8 litres per 100km. Both figures are highly respectable.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

"Surprising" is the word that comes to mind here. I'd driven an Elantra SR earlier in the year in Perth, a place which, particularly in the heat of its burning summers, can make anything feel like a chore. I'd been not entirely whelmed by the experience, neither overwhelmed by its performance or too awfully underwhelmed by its dual-clutch auto.

Switching into the manual for a couple of weeks in Sydney I was far more impressed by the way it copes with the cut and thrust of traffic in a big city.

The Elantra feels torquey and urgent, and if you apply yourself to the driving experience and rev it hard in each gear there's genuine fun to be had.

My wife, who tends to review cars in sound bites, also declared it hugely enjoyable, and sounded even more surprised than me.

It's an easy car to drive sedately in, but if you're in the mood there's some character lurking beneath the bonnet as well.

She did find the ride a little firm, also, but I quite liked it, because it was never too harsh and simply added something to the sportiness of the SR.

With its wild seats and other look-at-me touches, the Elantra struck me as mutton dressed up as beefcake at first, but it actually does deliver on at least some of that visible promise.

The steering is also precise and quick without being overly light. It's an easy car to drive sedately in, but if you're in the mood there's some character lurking beneath the bonnet as well.

And at less than $30,000, the whole package is far more than you'd expect to get for the money.

Yes, a Mazda might be slightly more involving, or a Subaru more sporty and sharper but Hyundai is closer to its competitors than it's ever been, and still offers outstanding value.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

5 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   9/10

The gear is all here with traction control, ABS, EBD, Brake Assist System, Hill-start Assist Control, Blind Spot Detection, Lane Change Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, a reversing camera and parking assist front and rear. Driver and front passenger get four airbags between them and side curtain airbags are also standard. It also gets a five-star ANCAP rating, but AEB is absent from the spec list.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   9/10

Hyundai offers an impressive five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which brings a lot of peace of mind, and service intervals are every 12 months or 10,000km. The first three services are capped at $259 each, while the fourth climbs to $299, before the $399 fifth service for a total of  $1475 over five years or five services.

The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent value proposition. The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent value proposition.

Verdict

The Hyundai Elantra is an excellent value proposition and, in the case of this Turbo SR version, surprisingly fun to drive as well. Should be on your shopping list if you're after a mid-size sedan, and the five-year warranty is also a tempting offer.

Is Hyundai's Elantra the right size for you? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing guides

$17,888
Based on 100 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$13,888
Highest Price
$26,500

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Active 2.0 MPi 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $11,000 – 16,060 2017 Hyundai Elantra 2017 Active 2.0 MPi Pricing and Specs
Elite 2.0 MPi 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $14,400 – 20,240 2017 Hyundai Elantra 2017 Elite 2.0 MPi Pricing and Specs
Elite 2.0 MPI (sunroof) 2.0L, ULP, 6 SP AUTO $15,000 – 21,120 2017 Hyundai Elantra 2017 Elite 2.0 MPI (sunroof) Pricing and Specs
SR Turbo 1.6L, ULP, 6 SP MAN $16,300 – 22,660 2017 Hyundai Elantra 2017 SR Turbo Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
8
Design7
Practicality7
Price and features9
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption8
Driving7
Safety9
Ownership9
Stephen Corby
Contributing Journalist

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Pricing Guide

$13,888

Lowest price, based on 93 car listings in the last 6 months

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